Breathe (Taylor Swift song)
|Song by Taylor Swift featuring Colbie Caillat|
|from the album Fearless|
"Breathe" is a country pop song written and performed by American singer-songwriters Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat. Produced by Nathan Chapman and Swift, it is the seventh track from Swift's second studio album, Fearless (2008). The song was written about the end of a friendship. Musically, the song is driven by acoustic guitar.
The song received favorable responses from contemporary music critics. "Breathe" was one of two songs featuring Caillat that was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2010, the other being Jason Mraz's "Lucky", the winner of the award. "Breathe" peaked at number eighty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100. Its appearance tied Swift with Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) for two records on the Billboard Hot 100.
Swift was very fond of Caillat's 2007 debut album, Coco. Swift explained, "When it came out, I fell in love with the way that she makes music." Swift later contacted her management and asked if she could write a song with Caillat. They confirmed Caillat would be available due to a then upcoming concert in Nashville, Tennessee and, coincidentally, on the same day, Swift had a vacation day. According to Swift, "Breathe" is about having to depart from a someone, however, not blaming anyone. Swift believed the scenario was one of the most difficult goodbyes, "when it's nobody's fault. It just has to end." Swift explained, "It was total therapy because I came in and I was like look, 'One of my best friends, I'm gonna have to not see anymore and it's not gonna be part of what I do. It's the hardest thing to go through. It's crazy listening to the song because you would think it's about a relationship and it's really about losing a friend and having a fallout." Caillat and Swift said one of the beauties of the song was that many people would be able to relate to it because it is never specific as why the departure is occurring or whose fault it was.
Swift desired for Caillat to sing background vocals but in a loud manner, enough for audiences to recognize who sang backup. Originally Swift and Caillat were only to harmonize in the chorus, but as Caillat recorded, Swift decided to include her voice more throughout the track because of how impressed she was. Swift first recorded the entire song, and Caillat then recorded background vocals separately. Swift was very pleased with the finished product: "I think she sounds beautiful on it. I'm so excited to have her voice on my album."
"Breathe" is a country pop song with a length of four minutes and twenty-one seconds. The song has soft rock and adult contemporary elements in it. It was written in common time and has a ballad tempo of 72 beats per minute. It is written in the key of D♭ major, and Swift and Caillat's vocals span one octave, from G♭3 to B♭4. "Breathe" follows the chord progression D♭5–A♭–G♭. The song's instrumentation relies mainly on acoustic guitar, which are often plucked, while, on occasion, violins provide the accompaniment.
The lyrics for "Breathe" are about heartbreak and the loss of a person the narrator spent much time with. In the song's verses, the narrator acknowledges that people change and grow apart, though she is upset because she knows the person "like the back of her hand." In the song's refrains, she realizes the need to remain strong and breathe in order to live without the person. Ken Tucker of Billboard believed "Breathe" was a "love-gone-wrong song."
The song received positive responses from contemporary music critics. Ken Tucker of Billboard said the song was suited for women of different age groups. James Read of The Boston Globe implied "Breathe" was not one of Fearless' most interesting tracks. Gary Trust, also from Billboard wrote, "this ballad, perhaps along with fellow potential singles such as 'You're Not Sorry' and 'Forever & Always,' could keep Swift's string of smashes stretching into 2011." Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine thought Swift should have chosen another collaborator as he believed Caillat was inert.
"Breathe" was one of two songs featuring Caillat that was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2010, the other being Jason Mraz's "Lucky", the winner of the award. About "Breathe" not winning the award, Caillat said, "I love 'Breathe' with Taylor, but I've been performing 'Lucky' with Jason all around the world the last year, so I'm happy it won."
On the week ending November 29, 2008, "Breathe" debuted and peaked at number eighty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100. Its appearance, along with six other songs, on the chart tied Swift with Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) for the female act to have the most songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100 in the same week, a record later surpassed by Swift herself when she charted eleven songs at once in 2010. It was also one of six songs to debut that tied her with Cyrus, again, for the most debuts on the chart in the same week. The song spent one week on the chart.
|US Billboard Hot 100||87|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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